Okinawa is an island located roughly 640 kilometres (400 miles) south of Japan. It is home to 1.3 million residents. Its name translates to “rope in the open sea” from Japanese, and it consists of 49 inhabited islands and 111 uninhabited islands. Due to its tropical climate, Okinawa is a popular beach holiday destination for tourists and locals, although many people remain unaware of this island’s beauty.
Okinawa is mostly tropical, making it a popular location for winter getaways. Even in the months of January and February, the average high temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), although it can get cloudy and is usually a little too cold for sunbathing activities due to the winter monsoon. The rainy season in Okinawa starts in May and lasts up until June and, unlike in mainland Japan, it rains neither every day nor all day long. It’s best to avoid visiting during September as that’s when the typhoons are frequent.
Although Japanese is spoken here, there are many different dialects amongst the residents. Their culture is also heavily influenced by the Chinese, resulting from its history as a tributary of imperial China. They also continue to celebrate local festivals according to the Chinese calendar.
Okinawa’s tropical climate sees travellers filling their itinerary with outdoor activities. Most people come to Okinawa for the beaches, which provide a whole bunch of activities such as snorkelling, fishing, diving, and even sailing, just to name a few. Here are 5 of the must-do activities for when you visit Okinawa’s beaches:
Go-karting, or akabi-karting as it is better known in Japan, is becoming increasingly popular. In Okinawa, people sometimes opt to explore the streets and coastline by go-kart.
Explore the amazing scenery of warm beaches and blue skies of Okinawa from a go-kart. You can choose to ride solo or in a group. Although the speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph), its low center of gravity will guarantee that adrenaline rush you were hoping for.
This activity is ideal for adventure-lovers who just want to know what it feels like to be in a video game, cruising through the city streets while feeling that adrenaline rush!
Okinawa Street Go Karting
Duration: 3 Hrs Duration
Explore the beauty of Okinawa’s beach by having a bird’s eye view from above the emerald-green corals! The boat ride is approximately 80 minutes and your flight is around 7-8 minutes long. You will be harnessed to a parachute and fly on heights of up to 50 meters (160 feet).
Safety is ensured as the staff are highly trained. This package is suitable for all ages as well, with children as young as five being welcomed to enjoy the parasailing experience.
Parasailing Experience from Naha or North of Okinawa
The Blue Cave in Okinawa is a very famous spot for snorkelling and diving. It is located near Cape Maeda in Onna Village. It acquired its name from the blue tone created inside due to the sun’s rays that reflect on the white limestone bottom, which results in the rays bouncing back up into the cave. This process makes it seem like the bottom of the cave is radiating a blue light. It does, however, get darker upon entering the cave.
With Voyagin, you can admire the natural beauty this cave has to offer while at the same time snorkelling and kayaking there! Marvel at the natural blue light radiating from in between crevices and tunnels and enjoy panoramic view of cliffs and coastlines as well as subtropical plants.
Upon reaching the shore of the cave, you can enjoy some tea and snorkel near the shore. Feast your eyes on the beautiful corals, sea turtles, manta rays, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, and more at Okinawa!
Kayak and Snorkel in Blue Cave, Okinawa Main Island
Price: from 69 USD upwards
Duration: around 3 hours required
Ishigaki Island is actually part of a group of islands in Okinawa called the Yaeyama Islands. It is located 410 kilometres (254 miles) southwest of Okinawa’s main island and 270 kilometres (167 miles) from Taiwan. It is surrounded by coral reefs, beaches, and scenic marine spots, making it one of the most popular destinations for vacations in Japan.
Ishigaki Island is also known for its rich and thriving nature. It has palm forests, mangrove-lined rivers, and jungle-covered mountains that offer opportunities for hiking and camping. The forest is actually spread around the the largest river in Ishigaki Island, the Miyara River. These thick mangrove forests spread for a distance of 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles) along the river.
Voyagin offers an eco-friendly tour that enables you to explore the lush greenery of Ishigaki’s forests by jungle trekking! You can expect to see the unique flora and fauna as well as the wild life there. Upon completing the trekking, there will be 5 different zip lines that will guide your return to the starting point.
Explore Ishigaki Island! Jungle Trekking & Zip Line
Price: from 79 USD upwards
Duration: around 3.5 hours required
What better way to appreciate the beauty of Okinawa’s sunset than to have a gorgeous dinner on a sunset cruise? Okinawa’s beautiful ocean, where people enjoy snorkelling, diving, and other water sports, turns into a serene, romantic place as soon as the sun sets. Okinawa witnesses amazing and breathtaking sunsets almost every day.
Watch the sun setting over the East China Sea while enjoying dinner on a cruise ship. Voyagin offers a package where you can choose between two types of cuisine, one of which is traditional Japanese fare, while you enjoy the sunset with a live performance in the background. Also, the vessel is fairly large, so swaying will rarely be experienced and there should be little to no seasickness experienced.
Sunset Cruising Tour around Okinawa Main Island
Price: from 79 USD upwards
Duration: around 2 hours required
Uniquely explore the wonderful beaches of Okinawa
Forget just having a picnic by the beach or swimming near the shore; explore the full beauty of what Okinawa has to offer through the above-mentioned activities! As Okinawa is difficult to access, it is important to plan your journey beforehand. You can either choose to take a plane or a ship from mainland Japan to the Okinawan Islands, although prices can be a little steep.
Apart from outdoor activities, Okinawa also has a variety of restaurants selling amazing local cuisine such as taco rice and sōki soba noodles. Okinawa also has an awesome night scene, kind of what you’d expect in a big city. Also, don’t miss out on the newly-rebuilt Shuri Castle in Naha!
Get Trip101 in your inbox